'We really need to defend our plots' - new group formed over plans for parking spaces on allotments
PUBLISHED: 11:55 04 April 2019
Allotment holders in Thetford have formed a group in response to proposals to build car parking spaces for the town's station on an allotment site.
The Mundford Road Allotment Protection Group (MRAPG) came together after it was revealed that a train station car park comprising of 50 spaces could be built on part of the allotment site.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Alex McCourt said: “We’ve been hearing the rumours for some time now and we need to make sure that if the plan does go ahead then the interests of all allotment holders are provided for. This is especially important given the bad feeling caused by council policies imposed last year.
“Although we are keen to maintain a good and mutually beneficial working relationship with the town council, we really need to defend our plots which many of us have spent many long hours cultivating.”
The Greater Thetford Development Partnership is proposing to create a car park on the other side of the tracks to Thetford Station, with around 50 spaces on land that is currently used for allotments. The station currently has around 35 parking spaces. Around 100 plots are currently available on the allotment, but initial estimates show that 50 parking spaces should take up no more than 10pc of the plots, and the Partnership recommends that a similar-sized plot of land for allotments should be provided as a replacement.
In March last year, Thetford allotment holders began to receive letters from Thetford Town Council outlining new conditions required at the site.
Glenn Williams, also a member of MRAPG said: “It seems that every allotment holder, certainly on Mundford Road, had something that did not meet the new requirements. Even ‘old-timers’ with immaculate well-tended plots.
“Many people have left their allotment, often after many years, in disgust at the town council and there is much anger and resentment towards the council among those who remain.”
A spokesman for Thetford Town Council said: “At the moment everything remains at an exploratory stage. When the town council receives a formal request from Greater Thetford Development Partnership (GTDP) the allotments committee will consider the matter.
“Allotment holders can rest assured that if the council explores this idea they will be consulted and their views will be considered.”
Thetford train station currently has 35 parking spaces, but with the new Kingsfleet housing development beginning its first phase, demand for spaces is expected to rise.